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How to Replace a Door Lock on Your Car

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. You’re out and about, running errands and you go to unlock your car door only to realize you’ve locked your keys inside.


Replacing a door lock on your car can be a daunting task but with the right preparation it can be done. Before attempting to replace the lock, you need to make sure that the car is in a safe, secure area, and you have all the necessary tools and replacement parts. Properly preparing the area and having all the required materials will ensure that the job is done properly and safely.

Gather the tools and materials you will need

Before starting the replacement process, it is important to make sure you have all of the necessary tools and materials for successful Cleaning and Lubrication in order to complete the job. Most door locks are fairly simple to replace, so the list of items may not be very long.

For a standard door lock, you will need the following supplies: Phillips head screwdriver, pliers or adjustable wrench (for removing screws), a lubricant such as WD-40 or other silicone lubricant for Cleaning and Lubrication, replacement door lock assembly, and screws if required.
Additionally, if your car has power door locks you may need certain accessories such as electrical wiring connectors or clips that attach to your car’s electrical harness. If you are unsure about the type of parts you will need for your specific make and model vehicle, consult your owner’s manual or a trusted auto parts store for assistance.

Identify the type of lock you need to replace

Replacing a car door lock can seem intimidating, but if you understand the steps involved, it’s not as difficult as it seems. The first and most important part of Replacing the Lock is to identify the type of car lock you are dealing with. Car door locks can generally be divided into three types: Mechanically-operated locks, Automotive Remotes (aka FOBs) and Sensors. Mechanically-operated locks are operated by turning a key in a keyway which engages a rotationally actuated latch. Automotive Remotes (aka FOBs) operate when an encrypted signal is sent to a receiver in the door assembly from a nearby remote control unit. Sensors, such as ultrasonic, infrared, electro-magnetic and optical detectors inside the bodywork come together to provide security for this type of lock. When activated either through personal identification codes or biometric methods such as facial recognition or fingerprint scanning technology, these sensors typically unlock automatically acknowledging your identity. Before Replacing the Lock, be sure to speak with a qualified technician who is experienced in working with that particular system.

Removing the Old Lock

If you need to replace a door lock on your car, then you will first need to remove the old lock. This process can be tricky, depending on the type of lock and the design of your vehicle’s door. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the installation of your new lock easier. Let’s look at those steps now.

Remove the screws or bolts that hold the lock in place

The first step in replacing the Existing Lock is to remove the screws or bolts that hold it in place. Depending on your make and model of vehicle, this may require a screwdriver, an Allen wrench, Phillips head screwdriver, or a specialty tool. If you are not sure if your car has standard screws or bolts for securing the lock, it is best to consult the car’s manual for detailed instructions. Once all of the screws have been removed, gently pull out and then away from the door panel. It may be necessary to insert a flat-head screwdriver under the edge of the panel and then pry upward to force open stubborn panels. Once open you can access and remove the Existing Lock assembly from within. Make sure not to lose any of these components as they will need to be reattached when installing a new lock assembly.

Remove the old lock from the door

Before replacing the door lock on your car, you must first remove the old one. Begin by inspecting the lock for signs of damage or corrosion. If your existing lock does not appear to be securely attached, you will need to take steps to reattach the faceplate and ensure that it is properly repaired before removing it.

Once the integrity of the old lock has been verified, start by removing any screws that are holding it in place. Make sure to unthread any adjustment screws within the housing before proceeding. Then unscrew any trim paneling or other components blocking access to the lock cylinder.

Once exposed, use an appropriate type of flathead screwdriver as a lever to pry open both sides of the door panel simultaneously. This should release the pressure within and around both sides of the panel and make it easier to gain access to the lock from either side. Once opened, move away from each edge slowly until the entire cylinder is freed from its housing unit within the door frame.

With a firm grip on either end, pull away from one side until you can clearly see both ends of what was once in contact with each other within its cylinder housing unit in order for it to function correctly when locked and/or unlocked with a key or by manual means (twisting handle). This should separate and remove your old car door locks completely from its attaching unit often found in capping around or interior section of vehicle doors space allowing for ample access and clearance during installation process for both new keyed lockset or manual movement handle operated entry device. Reattach the faceplate if necessary before proceeding with removal.

Installing the New Lock

Installing a new door lock on your car is not a complicated task. You will need a few basic tools, such as pliers, a screwdriver and a drill, as well as the new door lock. Once you have all the necessary materials, the process of replacing the door lock is fairly straightforward. Read ahead to learn how to replace a door lock on your car.

Position the new lock in the door

Position the new lock in the door by Removing the Lock. Carefully place the new lock into position in the door so that all its components are in place and secured. To do this, ensure that all of the pins match up with those of the door. In some cases, you may need to use a paperclip or wire to hold a few pins in place until you can fix them permanently. If there are any other components associated with your particular lock, ensure these are also installed and positioned correctly.

Secure the lock with the screws or bolts

Once the lock type
Once your new door lock has been installed, it must be firmly attached with the screws or bolts to guarantee its safety and proper functioning. To Remove the lock, take the supplied screws or bolts and start screwing them in slowly. Use a wrench to fasten them completely, making sure all components of the door lock are in line before tightening it fully. Regularly check your work during this process to make sure everything is connected tightly and correctly aligned. Finally, use a ruler, tape measure or straight edge to ensure that the connecting pieces are even and securely joined together. Once this procedure is finished, you have successfully removed the lock!

Testing the Lock

Before you replace the lock, it’s a good idea to test it to see if it’s functioning as it should. The best way to do this is to insert the key into the door lock, and turn it to the left and then to the right, checking if it turns freely. If it does not turn, this may indicate the lock needs to be replaced. Additionally, check if all the pins align when you turn the key. If they do not, this could also be a sign that the lock needs to be replaced.

Test the lock to make sure it is working properly

Testing the bolt on your new door lock is an important step to ensure that it functions properly. To test the bolt, you’ll need to insert your key into the keyhole and turn it as if you were unlocking your door. Make sure that the locking mechanism engages when you turn the key and re-engages when you turn it back.

Check whether or not the locking mechanism is functioning correctly by slowly turning the knob with your hand. You should be able to feel a resistance when it is locked, and there should be very little movement when it is unlocked. If either of these two conditions are not met, then something might be wrong with your new door lock, and you may need to take it back for replacement or repair.

Once you have tested the bolt with your hand, insert the key again and try powering up locks with a switch or remote control. Check if all three other modes: jumping out, rolling up or bolt Remove work as expected. If each one works as expected without any issues, then you know that your new door lock has been successfully installed and is ready for use!

Adjust the lock if necessary

Once the new lock has been installed, the final step is to adjust the lock for proper function. Firstly, the door will need to be closed completely before adjusting. Start with adjusting the red dial located at the top of your lockset. This dial adjusts how far down you can turn the knob until it engages and unlocks the door. Keep turning until you feel resistance and then turn it slightly back in a counter-clockwise direction so that releasing and engaging are easy to execute.

You may also need to adjust where the eyes on either side of your door meet when it is shut. If, when you attempt to unlock your car from outside by inserting key or a card inside, there is no response from your car doors, then chances are you may have uneven eyes meeting on either side of your door or one eye is slightly out of place. In this case, adjust each screw bracket present on each side equally in order to ensure evenness between them and align them properly with one another.

Lastly, check all of your screws for tightness and make sure that they are not too tight nor too loose as it may affect proper functioning of both latches and deadbolts being used with your car lock set. Now that you have adjusted all necessary parts successfully, restore power back into your car doors system (if disconnected during installation) by plugging in any detached wires or reconnecting disconnected batteries; turn on power button again so that newly installed lock sets can begin operating smoothly according to what settings you customized during adjustments stage just before testing out everything!

Finishing Up

To finish the job, you will need to put the door panel back on and make sure it is securely attached. Once it is in place, secure the lock and then you can start the vehicle up to make sure it functions properly. Additionally, make sure to test the alarm system to ensure it is still working and the car door is securely locked.

Clean up any mess you made during the installation

Before you pack up your tools and move on, take the time to clean up any debris that has been created by the installation process. It is best to do this at the end of the installation as any mess can contribute to corrosion and other problems for your car.

Start by disposing of any packaging material or dirt and debris carefully. Place all small screws and hinge covers in a safe place in case they are needed later on. Vacuum up any loose material that may have found its way onto the floor or elsewhere around your car’s interior, and use a damp cloth to wipe away streaks or scratches left behind from tools.

Take an extra moment to recheck that all screws have been tightened properly, examining door gaskets if necessary. Test out your new lock several times before securing it with its mechanism, doing one final check when you are finished to ensure everything is working properly.

Replace any interior trim you removed

Once you have the new lock installed, it is essential to restore the interior of your car by replacing any trim pieces that were removed during installation. The process for restoring the interior trim can vary depending on the make and model of your car. Carefully refer to your vehicle’s manual before you begin. When re-installing any trim pieces related to the door panel, make sure they are fastened securely in place so that they do not rattle or come loose over time. Measure the thickness of the screws with a tool such as a screwdriver and use a different tool if any of them seem loose or not secured tightly enough. If necessary, use extra sealant where necessary and make sure to follow the placement instructions provided in your vehicle’s manual regarding interior components related to the door panel. Once all trim pieces have been replaced, use a cleaning solution such as Windex and a cloth or sponge to clean away any streaks from sealant residue on the inner side of damaged panels and on frames around re-installed trim panels. That’s it – you’ve now replaced your car door lock!

How to Replace a Door Lock on Your CarCheckout this video:

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